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Chicomm Blog

I’ve written on this subject before, but we had a recent incident in which the radio system did not work when they went to back it up. When we build these radio systems, unless not budgeted for, we put in some type of backup system to allow for the continued radio operation in case of a failure. Granted, the backup system may be as simple as a mobile radio with a power supply, but it is something to communicate to the end users that there is a problem with the system. Not only is the backup radio essential but some type of plan or Standard Operating Procedure should be written and followed. During a crisis or emergency, the last thing you need to be thinking about is “What do I do now!”. Instead, having a documented plan in a place is key to a good emergency plan.

Tags: Chicago Communications, Tech Talk, Back-Up Plan

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Tech Talk: Narrowbanding Help 101 

  1. First, get help! There's only FOUR months left until the deadline. To some of you that may seem like plenty of time, but let me tell you, if you haven't even started the process, you may be out of luck. In any case, the simplest thing to do at this point, especially if you have any questions, is to get help! Chicago Communications can submit both Public Safety and Industrial/Business narrowbanding applications, making it easy for you to accomplish your transition to narrowband operations. We will review your license and submit it directly to the FCC.  That means no third party is necessary to handle your license requirements, saving you a step
  2. Understand what it means...and find your license!     The thing you've probably been hearing over and over by now, (but is still worth repeating) is this: For those of you who have licenses with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and are operating in the frequency bands below 512Mhz, you will be required to replace or reprogram your entire radio system by January 1, 2013. The FCC has mandated that each license holder must reduce its bandwidth from 25Khz to 12.5Khz. Effectively cutting your current frequency in half thus creates a new channel. The current radio spectrum below 512Mhz is so congested, that there are not enough channels to go around. By reducing the bandwidth the FCC creates additional spectrum to use. So dig out your license and find out what specific requirements apply to you.
  3. Take action!  This means you need to take a current inventory of your radios throughout your system. For some commercial users this may be two portable radios, to some public safety agencies and towns, this may by two hundred radios. Either way, this inventory will allow the proper review by Chicago Communications to indicate which radios CAN and which radios CANNOT be narrowbanded. The general rule is if the radios were purchased/manufactured BEFORE 1997, they are not capable of being narrowbanded.
  4. Let us get to work! From these list we can generate a quotation to modify existing cable radios or replace radios that are not capable of narrowbanding.  Our field technicians can come on site to survey your equipment while the account representative will provide you with the best options available. Please note that this is NOT an option for you and your license. This is a REQUIRED action by the FCC. If not followed and found in violation of this you may be subject to fines after January 1, 2013.
  5. Time is running out! And as another note, DON’T WAIT! Similar to the transition of digital television, now that we are into the last few months, some radio shops may already be swamped with work trying to meet the deadlines.

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Tags: Two Way Radios, Chicago Communications, Back-Up Plan, Narrowbanding

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Tom's Tech Talk (#7): Ready for the Next Emergency?!

     With the recent weather related incidents happening around the US and the world for that matter, now is a good time to assess your backup plan for communications. When developing a backup communications plan, you have to consider what type of an emergency you are planning for. It's usually:

1) Your radio system is impaired and you need an alternate method of
2) You have to evacuate your facility leaving the equipment intact and
3) You have an incident which has completely taken out your building,
equipment or tower and you have to relocate.

Tags: Tech Talk, Back-Up Plan, Safety Solutions

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